Government Affairs Council Update
Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky
January 11, 2018
HR Webinar Series - The next Business Council HR webinar will address “Unlawful Workplace Harassment Training,” to be held 11 am to 12 noon on January 25, 2018. Click here to register, and to see the full 2018 calender of HR webinars. Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
State of the State and Legislative Messages - Links to Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State message, as well as our outline of key issues for New York State’s business community, are available here. While the Governor’s message addressed several critical needs, including continued investment in workforce development and public infrastructure, it said little about broad-based reforms to make the state more economically competitive. It also called for a number of additional regulatory mandates, and raised the possibility of a new payroll tax on employers as part of a strategy to minimize the impact of federal tax reforms. Many of the State of the State proposals will be reflected in legislative language included in the Executive Budget, to be issued by January 16.
Legislative leaders also issued beginning of session statements and legislative priorities, including:
- Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan announced a broad “Blueprint for a Stronger New York,” as well as his conference’s “Affordability Agenda” that addressed a number of bills to be passed the initial week of session, including making the real property tax cap permanent, adopting a 2% growth cap on state spending, repealing the remaining gross receipts tax on energy sales and others.
- Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, whose comments reflected many themes of the State of the State address, including those responding to recent federal actions. For our issues, he cited Assembly legislation on broad greenhouse gas restrictions, increased economic development efforts, and addressing the impact of federal tax reforms.
- IDC Leader Jeff Klein issued his conference’s “One New Yorker Budget Agenda,” which included a number of social policy initiatives, and a call for an expansion of the state’s apprenticeship programs, as well as a state-sponsored retirement program for private sector employees, and a new employer lien for unpaid wages.
Comment Period for Employee Scheduling Regulations Extended - The comment period on the Department of Labor’s proposed on employee scheduling has been extended until January 22, 2018, based on legislation signed by Governor Cuomo in December. These rules would impose increased costs when schedules are changed by employers in most cases where schedules are not set at least 14 days in advance. Our draft comments are available for your review here. On January 4, we testified at a joint hearing of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business and the Senate Administrative Regulation Review Commission. You can find our testimony here. Staff contact: Frank Kerbein
Executive Order 162 - The Cuomo administration posted its Executive Order 162 final implementation plan on the Empire State Development web site on December 22. The Executive Order requires state contractors to submit new reports on wages paid to employees working on a state contract, broken down by race, gender and job categories, and applies to contracts issued on or after June 1, 2017, and valued at $100,000 or more for construction contracts or $25,000 or more for all other contracts. This final guidance document contains several significant new or changed provisions:
- Initial reports will be due after the first quarter of 2018, so after 4/1/18. Agencies are to set specific due dates 7 to 10 days after the end of the quarter, and will have discretion to provide a 30 day extension for initial report
- Contractors and subs are required to report "gross wages," described as wages reported on employee's wage statements. The guidance includes a reference to the definition of “gross wages” in NYS tax rules (20 NYCRR Part 2380.4)
- Agencies are given discretion to apply alternative reporting periods, to determine the contractor's role in subcontractor compliance, and other unspecified aspects of reporting
- The guidance contains several changes specific to construction contracts: wage reporting will be quarterly, not monthly, and agencies have discretion to accept certified payroll reports on prevailing wage payments as sufficient to meet the requirements of the EO
- We were also informed by the Administration that contractors should be in contact with their contracting agencies for instructions on contract-specific reporting requirements
Most other provisions of the guideline, FAQ, instructions and forms did not change from what we reviewed in June. We any comments or questions on these guidance documents. Staff contact: Ken Pokalsky
The Business Council of New York State, Inc.
111 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210